GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and Jimmie Johnson Wrap Rolex 24 Testing At Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 9, 2011) -- GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and drivers Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and Jimmie Johnson, wrapped up a full and productive three-day test at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 this weekend, and the team and drivers are now placing their full focus on the 49th Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 27 - 30.
Gurney turned the team's best lap of the weekend in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley in Sunday's afternoon's final practice, but the 1:40.911 (127.003 mph) tour around the 3.560-mile Daytona International Speedway road course ranked just 14th fastest overall among the 17 Daytona Prototypes posting times this weekend.
"We got a lot of work done today," Gurney said. "We did improve the car and it seemed like we closed in on it a little bit, but there's still more homework to do. It seems like on all-out pace we are lacking, so we would like to figure that out before the race, but that isn't what necessarily wins the races. Everything else we feel pretty good about."
Johnson missed Friday's opening day of the Roar but got plenty of time behind the wheel in yesterday's day and night practice runs and Sunday's final sessions. He will be making his fourth consecutive Rolex 24 start with GAINSCO later this month and the seventh of his career. He also co-drove the No. 99 GAINSCO "Red Dragon" with Gurney and Fogarty in last June's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen.
"I feel good," Johnson said. "The team made a big effort to get me more seat time in general, if you look back to the Watkins Glen race last year, and what they have done here. With three drivers, you can't have anyone needing seat time come race weekend needing to find pace. I feel that the team has gone out of its way to get me comfortable, get me familiar with the car and the track. I am leaving here confident with my abilities and how I am driving the car and look forward to coming back."
Both Gurney and Fogarty were impressed with Johnson's ability behind the wheel and his obvious commitment to winning the Rolex 24 with GAINSCO.
"Jimmie got a lot of seat time and was right up to pace," Fogarty said. "As usual, a solid performance, and he's always working on his fitness. His off season is shorter than ours so he has probably been training getting ready for the NASCAR Cup stuff and I am sure he will be more than ready to go in a couple of weeks."
While the GAINSCO team will continue to tune and prepare the No. 99 for the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the drivers will shift their attention to staying physically fit and healthy.
"I am just going to try and stay healthy and well rested between now and the 24," Fogarty said. "Just basically restock energy stores so that they are available, because we are going to need them with three guys for the 24 hour race. I will probably lay off the exercise routine a little bit, so when the time comes, I am just rested and ready to expend the energy for a lot of time."
GAINSCO, Gurney, Fogarty and Johnson are looking to improve upon their career-best finish of second in the 2008 Rolex 24 with Jimmy Vasser.